Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yankees Even Up The World Series With 3-1 Victory Over Phillies

OK Yankees fans. You can breathe now. The Yankees won and the World Series is tied at a game a-piece. I still can't believe how many people were so quick to write them off after one game. It's like they're watching baseball for the first time. It's like their watching the Yankees for the first time. Their MO this season was to come from behind. They wouldn't be the Yankees if they didn't.

I, like most people, had no idea what to expect from A.J. Burnett tonight. He hasn't been the pitcher we thought he'd be. He's been up and down all season. Tonight, he was up, he was on, and he was every bit the pitcher we all want him to be. He flat out dominated tonight. At one point he had thrown 1st pitch strikes to 22 of 25 hitters. That's unheard of. The 1st pitch strikes alone were a big reason he was so dominant. It's a lot easier to pitch when you're ahead in the count. It didn't hurt either that his curve was off the hook. When it's on, A.J. has one of the best hooks in the game. It was on tonight. That's for sure. Welcome to the party A.J.! It feels good, doesn't it? If the Yanks are still passing around the WWE Championship belt, which I assume they are, it better be in A.J.'s locker. He definitely deserves it. Nicely done. I hope you've got one more start like that in you. Tonight was definitely your best start as a Yankee. now go out and top it.

A.J. and CC have pitched extremely well against the Phillies. They've combined for 14 innings, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits, 5 walks, and 15 Ks. A WHIP of 0.93 and an ERA of 1.93. That's what I call dominant. I wrote the other day that I thought the Yankees would be better off by starting Pettitte in game 2. I realized today if Andy started it would have been on short rest. Not sure where my head was on that one. I'm surprised nobody called me out on it. With the exception of A.J.'s start in game 5 of the ALCS, the Yankee starters have put together quite an impressive string of starts. With his start today, A.J. dropped his postseason ERA to 3.55. CC's is 1.52 and Andy's is 2.37. Wow. The trio's postseason ERA is 2.43. Again, wow. They're flat out dealing. It's your turn Andy. Keep it going.

The offense is still a little underwhelming. What the heck happened to A-Rod? He went from being the team's best hitter to their worst one. His World Series is not off to a good start. Alex is 0-8 with 6 Ks in the 2 games. Again I ask, what the heck happened to A-Rod. He's not going to hear the end of it from Yankee fans if he doesn't do something. Especially if they lose. My buddy Koob is already calling him "Choke-Rod." Be that as it may, the Yanks probably wouldn't be here if not for Alex. He's got at least 3 games left in him. Don't write him off yet.

I'm watching the post game show on YES. They're showing Pedro's press conference. I don't care what other people think. I kind of like Pedro. I have ever since he told the story about about sitting under the mango tree. His PG interview tonight was classic. He talked about how he chastised some dude in the front row for saying nasty things to him while holding his little daughter. It was pretty funny. I can't help but like and respect good old Petey. It certainly doesn't mean I root for him to do well. He just doesn't bother me.

It was nice of Mark Teixeira to finally join the party. I hope his HR sparks something from him. The team needs his bat, especially with A-Rod floundering.

I love Derek Jeter and all, but what the hell was he doing bunting with 2 on and no out in the 7th. That had to be one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. I really hate when Jeter plays the small ball approach. Derek is one of the best hitters in the game. I don't understand why he always feels the need to bunt runners over. It blew up in his face tonight when he bunted the ball foul for the 3rd strike. The whole "Yankee Twitterverse" was all over him, which was odd to see since everyone loves Derek Jeter. But that play? I just don't get it.

And what would a playoff game be without some bad umpiring? I've said many times that bad calls are part if the game and that in the end they usually balance out. Nothing is worse though than seeing bad calls in really big games. There were 2 bad calls tonight, both of which were bang-bang plays. Each team got hooked up. I don't usually get worked up about blown calls, especially when they're close plays. But the blown call that went against the Yanks bothers me a little. I'm referring of course to the DP the Phillies pulled off in the 7th. I know it was a tough call to make but the biggest indicator that the ball hit the ground came courtesy of Ryan Howard. Do you really think that if he caught the ball on the fly that he would have made a throw to 2nd as opposed to taking 5 or so steps to first base to step on the bag? I don't know either how the 1st base ump could make that call seeing that he was behind the play and out of position to tell. Howard's reaction should have tipped him off that it hit the ground. The Yankees should have had the bases loaded with 1 out. Instead the inning was over. The blown call on the flip side was the DP the Yanks turned in the 8th. As nice as it would be to get those calls right, they're pretty tough to make when they're that close. But as I said, blown calls are part of the game. Everybody benefits from them at some point.

It's painfully obvious that Joe Girardi only trusts one of his relief pitchers. If I need to tell you who that pitcher is, go to another blog. I was a little nervous, scratch that, a lot nervous, when the game got to the 7th. I've been very critical of Joe Girardi lately. I get scared when the game gets to the later innings and it's close because I know he's going to the pen. Using Mariano Rivera for 6 outs is a move I like. Mo's the GOAT. God bless him. It was definitely a tense ending. Mo, like he always does, locked it down. Again, God bless him.

So it's off to Philly for games 3-5. I like the position the Yankees are in. They're in the driver's seat if you ask me. The pitching macthups definitely favor the Yankees in the next 3 games. You've got the winningest playoff pitcher of all-time in Andy Pettitte going up against the shaky Cole Hamels. You can bet your life that CC Sabathia is starting game 4. The Yankees have a chance to win any time CC starts. I like the Yankees chances to take the 1st 2 games. Heck, I'll be happy if the Yankees take 1 of the next 3 games. I like their chances a lot if this series returns to the Bronx, even if the Yanks come back down 3 games to 2. Don't get me wrong, being up 3-2 would be much nicer, but being down 3-2 wouldn't be the end of the world.

I need to learn to write shorter posts. Sorry about the length, but it is the World Series.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Big Game Tonight For Yanks But Not Necessarily A Must Win

Wow. I can't believe how many people, Yankee fans included, that are writing off the series after just 1 game. Like I do everyday, I've been listening to a lot of MLB on XM. The Yankees certainly didn't play well yesterday but the loss doesn't mean the sky is falling. Sure losing the 1st game of the series isn't the start we/they wanted but it's not that big of a deal. Not to me anyway. The Yankees are the best team in baseball and they can easily bounce back from one loss. It's not the end of the world so step away from the ledge.

Even if the Yankees lose tonight I wouldn't right them off. Being down 2-0 with the next 3 in Philly would be a huge hole but it's a hole the Yankees could easily climb out of. Andy Pettitte, the winningest postseason pitcher ever, starts game 3. CC Sabathia, one of the best pitchers in the game, starts game 4. Those games can easily be won by the Yanks. Next thing you know it's 2-2 and then it turns into a best of 3. You can't count this team out. Ever. If you've followed the Yankees all year you know they have an uncanny ability to come from behind and pull out the victory. There's no quit in this team.

To win though the team has to score some runs. A.J., Andy and CC can pitch their butts off but if the team score it won't do any good. CC pitched a great game yesterday. If you knew before the game that he'd pitch 7 innings and would give up only 2 runs you'd say, "sign me up." His outing though was wasted by the Yankees' inability to score, and I think that had more to do with Cliff Lee than with the Yankees. I definitely thought the Yankees would do a little more off Lee, but they didn't. It's always hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is when an offense struggles. Is it an uninspired performance by the lineup or is it a dominant performance by the pitcher? Hard to say. I originally thought that the lineup kind of phoned it in. As I thought more about it, I had to give more credit to Lee. Lee was in the zone last night. He couldn't do anything wrong. Dude made a behind the back catch for crying out loud. All you can do is tip your cap to Lee and move on.

The Yanks now move on to face their ol' friend Pedro Martinez. Petey is not the same guy he once was but he's still not a slouch. The team should be able to muster some runs, enough hopefully to support Burnett. Right now I only advocate one lineup change and that's getting Nick Swisher out of the lineup. Nick just looks lost out there. I think his problem is that he's too anxious to come up with a big hit and it's causing him to fail. He's trying too hard. He's pressing and has been for a while. It's time for a change. I hope Girardi is wise enough to realize that change is good. But it is Joe Girardi we're talking about so I'm sure Swisher is in the lineup. the lineup hasn't been released so we'll see. I wouldn't mind seeing Brett Gardner's name penciled in. Slot him 9th and move Melky up to 8th. That's the move I want to see. edit @ 4pm- I just got the text alert that Jerry Hairston, Jr. is in the lineup instead of Swisher. Works for me.

3 hours until first pitch. It's a big game but not a must-win in my opinion. But it's as close to one as you can possibly get.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yankees Take It On The Chin In World Series Opener Losing To Phillies 6-1

I'm going to keep this post brief. I'm tired, annoyed, and my laptop is going to die soon. Tonight's Yankees/Phillies game didn't go as I had hoped. Despite his rough start, I thought CC Sabathia pitched one hell of a game. The only negative aspect of his outing were the 2 mistakes he made to Chase Utley. Normally, those mistakes wouldn't be that big of a deal if the Yankees could muster up some offense. I know Cliff Lee is good but damn, the Yankees offense isn't that bad. With the exception of Derek Jeter, it was a very uninspired effort by the Yankee bats. The only run they could muster came in the 9th inning on a bad throw. That's not going to cut it.

My other big beef is with the bullpen. Had they kept the game at 2-0 maybe I'd be singing a different tune. Phil Hughes looks absolutely terrible. He's not even close to being the same pitcher that he was in the regular season. Brian Bruney also showed us why he was left off the ALDS and ALCS roster. It wasn't a good return to the mound for Bruney. It was far from it. The Yankee bullpen is supposed to be a source of strength. They need to start pitching that way.

I'm not worried about losing the opener. I expected to head to Philly with the series tied at 1. I also wouldn't be surprised if the team found themselves down 3 games to 2 when/if they return back to the Bronx. It's 1 game. Many teams, the Yankees included, have been down 1-0 and come back to win. Heck, the 1996 Yankees lost the 1st 2 games (at home) of the World Series and came back to win 4 straight. This team is good and they're more than capable of winning these games. They certainly didn't play that way tonight though. They need to step it up.

A.J. Burnett vs. Pedro Martinez tomorrow. I have no idea what to expect. Both have good stuff and can dominate but both can also stink up the joint. Either way, it should be a good game.

Back with more thoughts about this loss tomorrow.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yankees/Phillies World Series Preview

It's about 10:15pm EST on Tuesday night. The first pitch of the 2009 World Series is a little more than 22 hours from now. I just got finished watching MLB Network's "Path To The Pennant - New York Yankees" special. If you missed it, it was basically a recap of the Yankees 2009 postseason so far. Right now I'm tuned in to MLB Tonight, the World Series preview edition. (Side note: I don't think I watched ESPN's Baseball Tonight once this year.) I'm sure all of you are pumped for tomorrow. I know I am. I can't wait to get this thing started. Happy reading. It's a long one.

Joe Girardi announced today that A.J. Burnett was going to start game 2 of the World Series. So we're looking at CC in game 1, Burnett in game 2, and Andy Pettitte in game 3. The unanswered question right now is are the Yankees going to go with a 3-man or 4-man rotation. Regardless of what they decide to do, I think CC is a guarantee to pitch games 1, 4 and 7. CC has shown before he can pitch well on 3 days rest. It's in the Yankees best interest to have him pitch as much as possible. If the series goes 7, he'll pitch 3 times. I think you can take that to the bank.

If I were running the show I'd go with the 3-man rotation. I'd also flip-flop Burnett and Pettitte. Here's my reasoning: For some reason A.J. Burnett pitches better at home and Andy Pettitte pitches better on the road. If the series goes beyond 5 games, they'd both end up pitching once at home and once on the road regardless of who started game 2. That would be a wash. I also think the Yankees would be better off if they started as many lefties as possible. 2 of the biggest offensive threats for Philly are Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard. Rollins hit .230 vs. lefties this year, with an OPS of .692. Howard hit .207 with an OPS of .653, a far drop from his 1.088 OPS versus righties. It would be huge to neutralize those 2 threats, especially Howard, for 5 games. Two of their other big boppers, Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley, are both lefties and despite their great numbers versus southpaws, I like the lefty-lefty matchup, especially when that LHP is CC Sabathia. CC owns lefties. Lefties hit .198 against CC all season and his WHIP was 0.95. LHPs also fare better in Yankee Stadium. We're also talking about the winningest postseason pitcher of all-time. Andy Pettitte has been there and done that in the postseason. I have more trust in him to pitch a great game than Burnett. I think throwing CC and Andy back-to-back is their best chance out going up 2-0 and taking a lot of momentum into Philadelphia for games 3-5.

The Yankees rotation is going to be a huge key to their success this week. With the exception of one start in the ALCS (A.J. in game 5 of the ALCS) the rotation has been pretty damn good. The trio has made 9 postseason starts, pitching 60 innings, allowing 17 earned runs on 48 hits and 16 walks. That works out to an ERA of 2.55. A.J. was the only one that got roughed up, giving up 9 earned runs in his 3 starts, with 6 of them coming in 1 game. Burnett is the wild-card for me, with "wild" being the keyword. A typical A.J. outing would be a lot of walks, a hit-batter (or two), maybe a wild pitch (or two), and very few hits and runs. A.J. allows a lot of baserunners and his low # of hits and high # of Ks often get him out of trouble, but there are times, like we saw in game 5, where it just doesn't work. Burnett's 2 starts could be what makes or breaks this series.

I don't know why I wrote all of that since Girardi has already made the decision to start A.J. in game 2. I'd go the other way, but what can you do? As for using a 3-man rotation? There are signs that it won't happen. Chad Gaudin threw a 70-80 pitch bullpen today so he could get stretched out a little bit. As I wrote above, I think it's all but a certainty that CC starts 3 times this series. Using Gaudin in game 4 would pretty much prevent that from happening as if CC starts game 5, he'll have 2 days off before game 7. Gaudin, if used as a 4th starter, would likely start game 5, meaning that Andy Pettitte would likely only make one start. If Pettitte starts game 3, he'd start game 6 on short rest. If the Yankees were going to do that, they might as well go with the 3-man rotation. The consensus out there seems to be that of the 3 Yankee starters, Pettitte is the only one who shouldn't start on short rest. By consensus, I mean Tom Verducci. I heard him on both the Michael Kay show this afternoon, and just now on MLB Tonight, mention that Pettitte's last start on short rest was 102 starts ago. That coupled with his age (37) is the only reason I can see them not wanting to use Andy on short rest. But it's the freaking World Series for crying out loud. He can do it one time. I'm sure if you ask Andy if he wants the ball, he'll take it, and he'll absolutely rock the house. I really hope they go with the 3-man rotation. Don't start Chad Gaudin.

The Yankee bullpen is also going to be a key component in this series. The only reliable once out in the pen right now is Mariano Rivera. Everyone else is shaky right now in my book. The 2 guys that need to step up and return to form are Joba and Phil Hughes. The formula for the most part is going to be the SP for as long as possible, then Joba, Phil, and Mo to close it out, with maybe a guy or two getting sprinkled in here and there to face a certain guy. Phil and Joba need to step it up. If those 2 can shut it down, the Yankees should have no problem winning this series.

The Phillies are starting Cliff Lee in game 1 and Pedro Martinez in game 2. I've heard a lot of people remark that they think the Phillies should start as many lefties as possible. As I wrote the other day, bring it on. I don't want to rehash everything I wrote the other day, so here's the short of it: the Yankees do very well against LHPs. I think it's a smart move by Charlie Manuel to throw Pedro in game 2. He's been there. He's done that. He's Pedro. But he's not the old Pedro. He could dominate or he could get shelled. The Yankees have done well against Pedro. Everyone remember "Who's Your Daddy?" You can sure as hell bet Yankee fans bust out that chant, possibly as early as the game 1 introductions. That would be funny. The Phillies pitching doesn't scare me. I would much prefer to go to battle with the Yankees rotation.

The Yankees offense of course need to score some runs. I'd like to say that it won't be a problem, but it very well could be. The Yankees squandered many an opportunity in the ALCS. They were 3-12 with RISP in game 1, 0-8 in game 2, 0-8 in game 3, 4-17 in game 4, 3-11 in game 5, and 2-8 in game 6. Tally that all up and they were 12-64 (.188) in the 6 games. That isn't going to cut it against the Phillies. They can't afford to get the first 2 hitters of an inning on only to strand them, something they did several times in the ALCS. Like with any team, they need those timely hits.

The offense needs to wake up. With the exception of A-Rod (.438 w/5 HR & 11 RBI), Jeter (.297 & 1.030 OPS) and Melky (.314), and to a lesser extent Jorge Posada (.258 &.368 OBP), everyone else is scuffling. They need the rest of the lineup to show up, especially Mark Teixeira (.205 & .581 OPS) and Johnny Damon (.238 & .273 OBP). Damon needs to improve that OBP to better set the table and Teixeira just needs to start hitting. The other sore spot is Nick "The Rally Killer' Swisher (.125 & .378 OPS). Swisher's bat is killing me. If you've read this blog long enough you know I'm not a big fan. I hope Girardi has a short leash on Swish if he continues to tank. I wouldn't mind seeing Brett Gardner get a start or two. But it likely won't happen. Why you ask? The answer is the subject of the next paragraph.

Joe Girardi better not screw this up. He's been making some questionable decisions this postseason. Many, myself included, feel some of his decisions cost the Yankees a game or two in the ALCS. I just hope Girardi doesn't mess this up. His managerial tendencies are starting to scare me. The Phillies definitely have the better manager.

The Yankees have caught a lot of breaks this postseason. Namely, bad calls by the umps (Phil Cuzzi), bad baserunning (Bobby Abreu, Nick Punto, Carlos Gomez), and poor defense (8 errors by Angels - the best defensive team in MLB). I don't see the Phillies making a lot of mistakes, if any. All things considered, the Yankees could very easily be at home right now, watching the Fall Classic on TV. Since I don't see the Phils making these mistakes, the Yanks need to play great baseball if they want to bring home their 27th world title.

This has the making to be one heck of a series. I think both teams are pretty evenly matched and I think every game is going to be a battle. I'm not going to make a prediction for fear of jinxing things, but I think you know where I stand. If the series is a classic like everyone seems to think it will be, I may get to catch part of it in person. I cashed in some credit card points to get tickets to game 7. If it goes that far, I'll definitely be in the house for that one. But as I wrote the other day, I'd be more than happy not to go (and get my points back) if it means the Yankees win it in 4, 5, or 6 games. I'm not rooting for a 7 game series. By all means Yanks, wrap it up in 4.

Wow, it took me almost an hour and 45 minutes to write this. I hope it didn't take you that long to read it, assuming of course that you did actually read it. First pitch is now about 20 hours away. I wish I could wake up and have it be 7:57pm. Speaking of waking up, the alarm clock is going off in about 6.5 hours, and that includes waking up probably around 4pm to feed the 6-month old. Why do I do this to myself? Oh yeah. I love the Yankees and I love baseball.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, October 26, 2009

Flying High

I'm still flying high after last night's Yankees clincher. Despite getting about 5 hours of sleep I'm feeling pretty good. I've got a little extra bounce in my step today. I haven't felt this way in I don't know, about 6 years. I'm really excited for the Series to kick off on Wednesday. The waiting is definitely the hardest part.

I'm also really excited because it's about a 99.9% certainty that I'm getting tickets to the World Series. I have one of those MLB credit cards and I decided to cash in the points, and it was a lot of points, for tickets. Unfortunately, the tickets are for game 7. I didn't have the availability to go to games 1 or 2. It was tough to decide between going to game 6 or game 7. If I went to game 6, I'd either be watching the Yankees win it all, win to force game 7, or lose the series to the Phillies. If it goes to game 7 I'm guaranteed to watch the Yankees play for it all. Also, if game 7 isn't played I get the points back. So if all goes "unwell" I'll be in the house for game 7. Believe you me, I want the Yankees to win it in 4 so I hope I don't have to make the trip.

I might hop back on later and post some kind of ALCS recap and/or World Series preview. I have to see how the day goes.

Peace, love and forever Pinstripes,


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pop Open The Bubbly, The Yankees Are Headed Back To The Fall Classic

7 down! 4 to go! The Yankees are back in the Fall Classic! What a huge win for the Yanks! A huge win! I said after the rain out that this game was a must-win for the Yankees. I'm glad to see that Joe Girardi agreed with me. I thought he (finally) made a smart move by using Mariano Rivera for 6 outs. If that's not a sign that the Yankees didn't think the game was a must win I don't know what is. What a game! Talk about nerve-racking. It was around the 4th inning that I slid to the edge of my seat. It made me sweat too. I'll admit it. I smell a little funky. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Not sure how many of you guys follow me on Twitter but I got sent to "Twitter Jail" during the bottom half of the eight inning for posting too much. I didn't know one could do that. So if you're wondering why I suddenly disappeared, there's your explanation. Talk about bad timing. It was such a fun inning too. The Angels, one of the most defensively sound teams in baseball, imploded on themselves. A dropped ball at first by Howie Kendrick on Nick Swisher's sac bunt. An air-mailed throw over the first baseman's head by Scott Kazmir on Melky Cabrera's sac bunt attempt. Talk about a rough inning. The 2 errors allowed 2 runs to score and gave the Yankees a 3-run cushion headed into the 9th. Those runs were pretty much the nails in the coffin.

Andy Pettitte had a huge outing. He was pretty much in charge all night long. He had great control. Andy threw a lot of first pitch strikes. That's one of the keys to having a great outing. Andy is a big time pitcher. You don't become the all-time winningest postseason pitcher if you're not. Great job AP!

As I wrote above this was a must win for the Yankees. Using Mo for 6 outs was a smart move. He's the GOAT. I think every Yankee fan in the world wanted to see Mo get the final 6 outs. I know I sure did. And Mo, as he's done so many times in the past, delivered.

Congrats to CC Sabathia for winning the ALCS MVP. CC was lights out in both of his starts. The win tonight lines him up to pitch game 1 of the World Series. Thank God the Yankees won tonight because I did not want to see him start game 3. You can argue that A-Rod was just as deserving but it definitely was CC's award. Alex had a monster ALCS, hitting .429 with 3 HRs and 6 RBI. Alex was without a doubt the most consistent offensive performer in the lineup. He was locked in and has been all postseason. I predicted a monster postseason for Alex at the start of the ALDS. I like it when I'm right. Alex seems to be in a very good place right now. He's got a great supporting cast and that definitely takes off a lot of the pressure. It's his team right now and deservedly so. I suppose I should also say thanks to Kate Hudson for doing whatever she is doing for Alex. Keep up the good work Kate.

It's been a long time but the Yanks are finally back in the World Series. Bring on the Phillies. Game 1 is Wednesday night and thanks to Andy Pettitte, it's going to be CC vs. Cliff Lee. Man, I really want to be there. There's an outside chance and when I say outside I mean way outside. I possibly have a way to go to game 6 or 7 but I'm not sure I want to go down that road. Who am I kidding? I definitely want to go down that road. Gotta talk to the wife in the morning. Speaking of which, the morning is about 5 hours from now. So for now, I'm off to bed to get what should be a great night's sleep. Regardless of how short it is. Be back tomorrow for sure!

They're back baby! 4 more wins to go!! Wooooooooooo!

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yankees/Angels Game Postponed, Game 6 Is Now A Must Win For The Yanks

Tonight's game 6 is postponed because of the weather. This makes winning tomorrow extremely important for the Yankees. They can not afford to play a game 7 on Monday. If the have to play a game 7 on Monday, the staring rotation for the World Series would be shot, assuming of course they win game 7.

Games 1 and 2 of the World Series are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. If CC Sabathia pitches in a game 7 on Monday, you can pretty much rule out him pitching until game 3. I know CC is good on short rest but 2 days off (Tuesday and Wednesday) is way too short. CC would end up pitching game 3 on Saturday on regular rest.

A game 7 would also mean that Andy Pettitte probably doesn't pitch game 2. If AP were to pitch in game 2 it would be on 3 days rest (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday). Andy pitching on short rest is not of the question, but it's far from ideal for the Yankees. If the Yankees decide not to use Andy until game 4, that pretty much means that Chad Gaudin or Joba would be starting game 2. Not ideal either. I'd take Pettitte on short rest as opposed to that option.

The rain out tonight turns tomorrow;s game 6 into a huge game for the Yankees. If they want to put their best foot forward for the World Series, they need to finish off the Angels tomorrow night. For my money it's imperative that they do. They really need to treat game 6 like it's game 7. Win at all costs.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, October 23, 2009

Yankees Fail To Close Out The Angels, Back To The Bronx For Game 6

Ok. I've slept on it and I don't feel as bad about last night's loss as I did right after the game ended. I had a gut feeling during the 7th inning meltdown that I was watching the Yankees season come to an end, meaning that I had the sinking feeling that this was the beginning of the end for the Yankees. Those feelings have subsided. The Yankees are up 3 game to 2 and are headed home to try and finish it out. While it would have been nice to wrap this up in Anaheim, I didn't think they dispatch of the Angels in 4 or 5, so before the series even started, I felt it would finish in the Bronx. Since that hasn't changed, I don't know what I was so worried about. It's hard to say with a gut feeling. I just felt off.

A.J. Burnett battled last night. He was absolutely horrible in the first inning, but settled down and somehow managed to hold the Angels scoreless for the next 5 innings. A.J. was on the verge of being one of the game's heroes. His performance, in innings 2-6, kept the Yankees in the game and allowed them to eventually take the lead in the 7th. Then all hell broke loose. Now before I get into that, I'll finish with my thoughts on Burnett. A.J. needs to be better than he was last night. He's terribly inconsistent. He's either really good or really bad. That usually works out to a guy being a ,500 pitcher, which for the most part, is what A.J. is, or was prior to the start of last season. He's got a find a way to harness his control. I am still a proponent of him pitching to Jose Molina. The two have worked well together but there seems to be a slight disconnect here in the postseason. They're a little off. If the Yanks reach the next round, I wouldn't mind if Girardi has him pitch to Posada, especially if he pitches in Philly. Girardi will prove to be a bigger moron than I already think he is if he has Molina catch him in Philly. Which brings me to my next topic.......

Joe Girardi is driving me crazy. I cannot understand why he does what he does. I understand the reasoning behind letting A.J. start the 8th, and in normal circumstances, I'd be all for it. But last night wasn't a normal circumstance. A.J. should have never started the 7th inning after sitting for as long as he did while the Yankees scored 6 in their half of the 7th. The smart move would have been to go to a fresh arm. That would have also allowed the RP to start the inning from the windup. There's a benefit to having a RP start with no runners on then with runners on. Girardi should have gone to Joba or to Phil Hughes to start the 7th. I'd have had no problem with that. I don't blame Joe for Phil's breakdown either. That's all on Phil for not executing.

I'm also puzzled why Girardi didn't go to the pen after A.J. allowed a leadoff single. Joe's management of the bullpen is totally puzzling. He over-manages one day and under-manages the next. Both have resulted in Yankee losses. I don't get why he brought in Damaso Marte over Phil Coke. Coke has been the go to lefty all season. Why in game 5 of the ALCS does he decide to abandon that and use the struggling Damaso Marte? I'm going to guess that he got the answer from his "book." To Marte's credit, he didn't implode like I thought he would, but that's not the point. Girardi totally abandoned his "bullpen formula" and started making up new rules on the fly. It should have either been Joba, Hughes and Mo for the last 9 outs, or Hughes and Mo. I really think his decision to let A.J. start the 7th was the big reason for the loss. I'm pinning both Yankee losses on Joe Girardi. They're not 100% his fault as there are certainly other contributing factors, but by and large, it's all on Joe.

One of those other contributing factors is the performance of Nick "The Rally Killer" Swisher. I had no confidence whatsoever in his 9th inning AB with the bases loaded. Swisher has been awful all year in big spots. Here's a look at his situational stats in case you haven't been watching:

Runners on: 50-203 (.246/.402/.453) 9 HR, 62 RBI, 52 K
RISP: 27-119 (.227/.380/.361) 3 HR 48 RBI, 27 K
RISP w/2 outs: 8-49 (.163/.379/.204) 0 HR, 14 RBI, 13 K
Bases Loaded: 3-19 (.158/.280/.211) 0 HR, 13 RBI, 4 K

Not too good, eh? Swish definitely kills a lot of rallies. I wonder what his deal is. I have a theory and it goes beyond that he's not very good. I think when Swisher sees all of these ducks on the pond, he gets excited at the thought of knocking in runs and he tries too hard. Normally in baseball when a guy tries too hard he ends up failing more than he normally might. Just a theory. Or possibly, like I said, maybe he just sucks. A little from column A and a little from column B, maybe? Either way, "The Rally Killer" needs to be removed from the lineup. That's another beef I had with Girardi last night. I get starting Nick in RF, but why leave him in the game after he made the last out of the 7th? Girardi typically inserts Brett Gardner in as a defensive replacement late in games. That was the perfect time if you ask me. When you're 9 outs away from the World Series and you have a 2-run lead, you shore up the defense. Swisher should have been lifted. My friend, and sometimes commenter, Danny Mac, has a good analogy when it comes to "The Rally Killer." Here it is:

Having Nick Swisher in your MLB lineup in the post season is the same as a bar league softball team fielding a 9 - man roster because someone couldn't make it; when his spot in the lineup comes up, it's an automatic out.

That sums up Swisher pretty nicely.

So it's back to the Bronx for game 6. Andy Pettitte versus Joe Saunders. Pettitte has been much better on the road but AP is a big-time pitcher when it comes to pitching in the postseason. Much like last weekend, the weather forecast isn't very encouraging for tomorrow's game. I think the worst thing that could happen is if that game gets postponed. What do you do then? The debate on the radio is do you start CC in game 6 if there's a rainout. Basically, do you start CC in game 6 on regualr rest and push Pettitte back to game 7? I see pluses and minuses to both. If CC starts and the Yankees win, they don't play an elimination game and the team gets 2 days off before the World Series starts and CC will likely start game 2 of the World Series on 3 days rest. If CC pitches and loses, you then need Pettitte to win , and if he does, CC pitches game 2 on 3 days rest. If Pettitte starts and they lose, then CC pitches Monday and you lose him for the 1st 2 games of the World Series. Best case scenario would be Pettitte pitching, the Yanks winning, and CC starting game 1 on plenty of rest. I'm signing up for Pettitte pitching. Pitching CC basically says to me that they don't trust Andy to win. You also have to do everything you can to get CC to start game 1 of the series. Pitching him in game 6 pretty much makes that impossible. Andy starts game 6 you hear me Girardi. Andy starts game 6. The other drawback of a rainout is it means that John Lackey likely is available if needed. I don't see him pitching at all if the game is tomorrow. Hopefully, like it did last weekend, the weather holds off and they get the game in as scheduled.

This has been a crazy series. With the exception of game 4, they've all been nailbiters. I fully expect the next 2 games to pretty much follow suit. It's going to be tough for the Angels to win 2 straight in the Bronx but it's not out of the question. Pettitte and CC have had great postseasons and I don't see them tanking now. The offense needs to score early. Get 'em on, get 'em over, get 'em in. No more of this getting the first 2 guys on and leaving them there. Start early and don't let up.

My big fear is WWJD. What will Joe do?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yanks Fail To Close It Out, Back To The Bronx For Game 6

9 outs. The Yankees were 9 outs from closing this series out. Then the wheels fall off. As I was watching the Angels retake the lead, I couldn't help but feel like I was watching the Yankees' season end. I don't know why I felt that way, but I did. The Yankees are still up 3-2 in the series and are returning home where they've played so well. If you told me before the series started that the Yankees were going to leave Anaheim with a 3-2 series lead, I'd have been satisfied with that. I even thought the Angels were likely to win this game before it started. Having said all that, why do I feel like the season is ending? I really wish I could explain it. It's a weird feeling for sure. The feeling is still there and I'm hoping when I wake up in the morning it's gone.

I'm going to leave it at that tonight. If you want to know my thoughts on the game, scroll down and read the posts called "Joe Girardi Is A Big Fat Idiot" and "Joe Girardi Is Still A Big Fat Idiot." Girardi definitely made some moves that I think cost the team the game, namely bringing A.J. Burnett out to start the 7th and then not pulling him after the leadoff hitter reached base. Even though the entire "Twitterverse" was calling for an RP, myself included, I can kind of see why Joe let A.J. start the inning but I can't for the life of me figure out why he left him in after the 1st hitter reached. Then there's Nick "The Rally Killer" Swisher. I don't even want to get into that. I'm afraid if I do I'll be up all night grumbling his name while I try to fall asleep.

I'll be online at some point tomorrow, lunch time maybe, with a more in-depth post about the game. I need to shake this loss off. It's really not sitting well with me.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


If They Only Had A Brain

Like I always do, I've been listening to MLB on XM all day today. There's a lot of talk about the Phillies returning to the World Series. The general consensus seems to be that the Yankees will dispatch the Angels and face the Phillies in the Fall Classic so most of the talk, from both the hosts and callers, has to do with them facing the Yankees and how they matchup. There's a lot of people that are subscribing to the school of thought that the Yankees will struggle against the Phillies if the Phillies overload their rotation with lefties (Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, J.A. Happ). A lot of people seem to think that the Yankee lineup is susceptible to left-handed pitching. They seem to feel that the Phillies will benefit greatly from being able to have their lefties start 5-6 games if need be. You know what I say to all of that? Bring it!

Let's take a look at the Yankees lineup and see how they performed against lefties this year. Here are their averages, on-base percentages, and slugging percentages against southpaws.

  1. Derek Jeter - .395/.468/.542
  2. Johnny Damon - .269/.332/.444
  3. Mark Teixeira - .305/.400/.511
  4. Alex Rodriguez - .277/.401/.538
  5. Hideki Matsui - .282/.358/.618
  6. Jorge Posada - .290/.360/.476
  7. Robinson Cano - .309/.335/.541
  8. Nick Swisher - .244/.393/.475
  9. Melky Cabrera - .268/.343/.420

Yeah. That looks like a lineup that's susceptible to lefties. Puhlease. As a team, the Yankees went 36-18 (.667) in games started by lefties and they collectively hit .286/.365/.480. Against righties, they went 67-41 (.620) and hit .282/.360/.476. I know Haap, Hamels, and Lee are tough pitchers but the Yankee hitters aren't slouches. Well, except for maybe Swisher. So go ahead Phillies. If you end up facing the Yankees by all means stack that rotation with lefties. Go right ahead.

If anything, the Phillies should be worried about the Yankees stacking their rotation with lefties, which they easily could do with CC and Pettitte. The Phillies didn't do too bad against lefties this year, winning 29 of 45 (.644) . But they only hit .248/.335/.452. Two of their big cogs don't didn't do so hot against lefties. Jimmy Rollins hit .230/.266/.425 and Ryan Howard hit .207/.298/.356. That could be a huge impact to the Phillies offense. Two of their best players could be rendered ineffective. That will certainly affect the rest of the Phillies lineup. And not in a good way.

Let's go Yankees! 1 more win and they're back in the Fall Classic!

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Melky, A-Rod & CC Show Lead Yanks To 10-1 Win Over Angels

It's late. I'm tired. This post will be abbreviated with a much longer one coming tomorrow at some point. I wanted to get something up before I went to bed. Who am I kidding? I'm probably going to bust out a full post. Time will tell.

Tonight's game in a word: awesome. The Yankees crushed the Angels and are now firmly in the driver's seat with a 3 game to 1 lead on the Angels. It's going to be real tough for the Angels to run the table and win 2 in NY. I don't see that happening. Especially since they'd have to beat A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and the man, CC Sabathia.

CC was awesome tonight. He flat out dominated the Angels. CC seemed to get better as the game went on. His fastball was still hitting 94. His control was sharp. Like I said, he was awesome. CC has flat out owned the Angels this series. 2 games, 2 wins, 16 IP, 9 hits, 3 walks, 12 Ks, 2 earned runs. Now that's dealing. The outing today was especially impressive because it was on 3 days rest. The big guy is earning every penny of that contract. The man is flat out awesome. The best part about the outing is that it didn't give Joe Girardi a chance to mess things up. During the game I tweeted that CC comes out when CC wants to come out. Girardi needed to leave the ball in CC's hands until he wanted to give it to Girardi. There were a few sticky spots and I was getting a sinking feeling that Girardi was thinking of pulling him. Thankfully, CC locked things down and that didn't happen. Way to go big man.

The bats finally woke up and they woke up in a big way. The hammered the Angels for 10 runs on 13 hits and 7 walks. If not for a few baserunning blunders and some bad calls, they might have scored more. More on that later. You can't stop A-Rod right now. It's his world and we're all just living in it. Alex is the new Mr. October. He's crushed 5 HRs and knocked in 11 in the Yankees' 7 playoff games. He is absolutely crushing the ball. Talk about being locked in. And he's not just doing it with his bat. He stole a base and he also had some heads up baserunning when he went from 2nd to 3rd on a fly out and scored on a errant throw. Everything he's touching turns to gold. Stay gold pony boy. Stay gold.

Melky Cabrera had a big game going 3-4 and knocking in 4. The bottom of the order needed to produce and the Melk-man delivered. I wish I could say the same for Nick Swisher. Another ohfer. Another 4 guys left on base. I really don't see how he starts on Thursday. It wasn't his worst game tonight, but it's still not enough to keep "The Rally Killer" in the lineup. I definitely think we'll see Brett Gardner on Thursday. At least I hope we do. Swisher is all about rally-killing. Had the umps not blown the call the Angels had him picked off second. He also grounded back to the pitcher with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out. I'm referring to the Posada/Cano fiasco at 3rd base. Which leads me to......

Where was Jorge Posada's head at? What was he doing breaking for home on that grounder? That was not some heads up baserunning. And then he leaves home plate thinking there are 3 outs when there were only 2. Good thing A-Rod realized what was going on and went to cover home to keep Torii Hunter from scoring. Get your head in the game Jorge. It's the freaking ALCS! Wake up!

Finally, what is up with the shoddy umpiring? Holy cow? That has to be the theme of the postseason. The bad calls went both ways tonight. It started with the umps calling Nick Swisher safe at 2nd on a pickoff play when he obviously wasn't. That blown call was wiped out by another blown call when Swisher was called out for leaving 3rd base early when he obviously didn't. The sad part there was that FOX showed the 3rd base ump on that play and he wasn't even looking at Swisher. Perhaps the worst call of all was when Tim McClelland, the 3rd base ump, didn't call Cano out at 3rd on what was obviously a double play sparked by poor baserunning. Not a good night for crew chief Tim McClelland, one of the more respected umps in the game. His 2 blown calls were beyond horrible. I think the Swisher call was a make-up call for the blown call at 2nd. Based on the crowd reaction, it sounded like they show replays of close calls like that at Angels Stadium. I didn't think you could do that as it could influence an umpire's call, which it could have tonight. McClelland's other call was worse than that though. How do you not call that a DP? Horrible.

Alright, I guess this can be called a full post. I pretty much covered everything I wanted to cover. Perhaps something will come to me as I lay in bed. If it does, I'll be back with it tomorrow, or should I say later today since it's past midnight. The Yanks now get a day of rest before coming back Thursday to try and close this out. A.J. Burnett gets the ball. The only thing I'm worried about is that Burnett pitches better at home and Andy Pettitte pitches better on the road. If only there was a way to flip-flop those guys. It's definitely not out of the cards that the Angels find a way to tie this series up. John Lackey starts for the Angels on Thursday and he can definitely shut a team down. Anything is possible. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself but the Yankees are in a very good position right now. If the Angels can somehow pull this off, they'll deserve it. They're going to have to beat A.J., Andy, and a fully-rested CC. The SP has been great. Beating those 3 is going to be no easy task. Hopefully, they wrap it up Thursday night.

6 down, 5 to go.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Has Joe Girardi Learned A Lesson?

The Yankees lineup for tonight's game has been released and it features a swap that I suggested here earlier today. Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui swapped spots with Posada now batting 5th and Matsui batting 6th. I wrote earlier that a huge problem in the Yankees lineup was exposed last night when Girardi inserted Brett Gardner into the lineup to pinch run for Matsui. As soon as Matsui leaves the lineup, A-Rod has no protection. The Yankee bench is made up of some pretty light-hitting guys and the Angels were wise to intentionally walk A-Rod with 2 outs and the bases open in order to pitch to Jerry Hairston. If the games are close and it's late in the game, you could expect the same to happen. Posada now offers A-Rod the protection he needs in the event that the DH gets lifted for whatever the reason. It's a smart move.

Girardi though isn't pointing to the flaw in the lineup as the reason for the change. Girardi says the move is based on Posada's past success versus Scott Kazmir. While that may be somewhat true, I have to think the gaping hole left in the lineup when Matsui is taken out has a lot to do with it. I guess we'll know for sure on Thursday when the lineup is released.

Girardi made a somewhat smart move. Who's surprised?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Joe Girardi Is Still A Big Fat Idiot

I've slept on it. I've thought about it all night. I still draw the same conclusion. Joe Girardi is a big fat idiot. I've been listening to baseball talk on MLB on XM all morning. I've check out a few sites on breaks and such. I haven't come across anyone who is on Girardi's side here. Everyone is in agreement. The moves he made yesterday were ridiculous. I've received a lot of visitors today from various web searches. Here's a sample of the search queries directing people here: "girardi is an idiot," "why did girardi pull robertson," "joe girardi stupid," "girardi horrible," and I could go on and on. They were stupid moves yesterday. They are stupid moves today.

The loss though can't be totally pinned on Girardi. The Yanks came up empty with RISP. If they could have mustered one timely hit they probably win that game in 9. With the exception of Jeter, A-Rod, and Posada, the team really isn't hitting the ball. That's where Girardi needs to shine. The team didn't hit the ball when they needed to. Girardi needs to pull the right strings to ensure the team gets another chance to knock in that run. He failed miserably at that yesterday. A major problem was also exploited when Matsui was lifted for a pinch-runner. With Matsui out of the lineup, A-Rod had no protection. The Angels wisely issued him 4 free ones when he came up. The Yankees might want to consider swapping Posada and Matsui in the lineup to avoid that from happening. If not, maybe bench Swisher and use him in that role. I know Swisher sucks with RISP but he's a better source of protection for A-Rod. The bench is very weak with no power. The only guys that can fill in as DH are all weak-hitting players. I bet they wish they had Hinske on the roster over Freddy Guzman. I know I do.

Girardi also needs to throw away his books. I'm not a fan of playing lefty/righty matchups. I get the theory behind it and I know why teams do it, but it doesn't mean they always should. Case in point: Brett Gardner is a lefty who hits lefties pretty well (.291 with .781 OPS). Jerry Hairston is a righty who doesn't hit lefties terribly well (.242 with .714 OPS). There was a game last year where Girardi lifted Pudge Rodriguez against a RHP and put Melky into the lineup. Since 1987, Pudge is a .295 hitter against RHPs. Melky is a career hitter .277 hitter vs. RHPs. My point is that the books don't always have the answers. If a guy can demonstrate that he can perform in the situation, put him in and let him do his thing. Jerry Hairston did not need to hit for Brett Gardner. Throw the books away Joe. Throw 'em away.

CC tonight on short rest. Works for me. Hope the offense shows up.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, October 19, 2009

Joe Girardi Is A Big Fat Idiot

Tonight's loss to the Angels has me so frustrated. I had to go to the store to pick up a few things right after the game and the whole time I was there I kept uttering some not so nice things under my breath while shaking my head in disbelief. Tonight's loss was purely on Joe Girardi and his over-managing of the Yankees' bullpen. What he did in the 11th, pulling Robertson for Aceves, made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Even if it worked out it was a horrible move. I think there was only one person out there who thought it made sense and that was Joe Girardi. As soon as the move was made the entire Yankee "Twitterverse" was questioning the move. I got several text messages questioning the move. It made sense to no one. I'm still ticked about it. The guys over at Nomaas had the perfect tweet. It read, "When Tim McCarver actually makes sense, you know you made an idiotic move." If you're familiar with McCarver, you know he's often wrong and makes no sense. Even he questioned the move as soon as it happened. Un-friggin-believable. It was stupid, stupid, stupid.

Girardi said he made the move because he liked the matchup better with Aceves facing Kendrick. Robertson in his career had faced Kendrick twice. Aceves had never faced him. How can you think an Aceves/Kendrick matchup is more favorable than a Robertson/Kendrick matchup when Acevss has never faced him? It doesn't make any sense. Aceves and Robertson are both righties so it's not like there was an advantage of having one over the other. I can see it if Robertson was struggling and had thrown a lot of pitches but he was pitching well and retired the first 2 batters on only 11 pitches. He certainly had some gas left in the tank. It was a very short-sighted move. It was a tie game. The Yankees had lost the DH. If Aceves happens to get out of the inning and then the Yankees don't score, then what? The only RP left was Chad Gaudin. In a situation like that you have to prepare for the long haul. You can't pull RPs like that and leave yourself short-handed. It was stupid, stupid, stupid.

But that wasn't Girardi's only boneheaded move. He brought in Damaso Marte, a lefty, to pitch to one hitter. Marte threw one pitch for the 3rd out of the inning. The Yankees didn't score in their half of the inning and Girardi brought in Phil Coke, a lefty, to start the inning. Why wouldn't they just keep Marte out there since they were both lefties? Instead they burned through a reliever that could have helped them out later. It was stupid, stupid, stupid.

Girardi definitely over-managed this game. If the Angels come back and win the series those boneheaded moves are going to seve as the turning point. Girardi's idiotic moves though weren't the only reasons why the Yankees lost. The offense, despite their 4 solo HRs, was horrible. Mark Teixeira went 0-3 and lowered his postseason average to .077. He's a had a few big hits but he needs to step it up.

The worst though is without a doubt, Nick "The Rally Killer" Swisher. Is there anyone worse than Swisher when it comes to hitting with guys on base? I don't think so. He was horrible in the regular season. He's horrible in the postseason. Here are his regular season numbers in different situations:

  • With runners on: .246.
  • With RISP: .227.
  • With RISP and 2 outs: .163.
  • With the bases loaded: .158.

That's pitiful. Here's how he's done in the postseason (I pulled these from the game logs)

  • With runners on: 1-7, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K
  • With RISP: 0-4, 3 K
  • With RISP and 2 outs: 0-1, 1 K
  • With the bases loaded: 0-2, 2 K

That's why I call him "The Rally Killer." He's the last guy I want up with runners on base. I'd almost rather see Brett Gardner get a start over Swisher. I'm about 50/50 on that one. I have no faith in Swisher whatsoever.

It would have been nice to steal this game and take a 3-0 lead in the series. It would have been all but over. Now it's 2-1 Yankees and they're still in a good position. CC Sabathia pitches tomorrow on short rest. I'm expecting him to continue with the good pitching. The team is pitching very well and CC's the ace of the staff. He can handle the short rest. CC needs to pitch deep into the game. The longer he pitches the better. It's really the only way to ensure Joe Girardi doesn't make any more stupid moves. He's already cost the team one game. We don't need him to cost them another one. A little offense wouldn't hurt either.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yanks Win A Wet And Wild One With Another Walkoff

Oh my God! What a way for me to pop my cherry at the New Yankee Stadium. Last night's game against the Angels was absolutely incredible. I could not have asked for anything more. As the game went to extra innings I said to my wife, "This will either be the best game I've ever been to or the worst." I think you all know how it turned out.

Man, where to start? I don't even know. I guess I'll start with the trip. If you want to jump ahead to my thoughts on the game, keep scrolling. I thought the new Stadium was awe-inspiring. It definitely reminded me a lot of the old ballpark. It looked and felt the same except much more up-to-date. We got there right after the gates opened and we just spent some time strolling around the place, checking things out. I like the fact that they open the park 3 hours before game time. There weren't crowds to fight like there were at the old place. We went and visited Monument Park and we pretty much had the run of the place. There were others down there but it wasn't close to crowded. Every time I went to MP at the old place, the lines were huge and it was really hard to take it all in because of how crowded it was. It was nice to be there without that many people. As expected, it gave me the chills. I love remembering the old greats.

I really wanted to check out the museum and while we had more than enough time to check it out, I couldn't find it. It's my own fault. I didn't look that hard and I didn't ask anyone where it was. Oh well, I'll have to save that for my next visit, which hopefully we'll be in a few weeks if you know what I mean. I'm not sure why I didn't ask anyone. The Stadium staff was extremely nice and courteous. We were a little surprised by that. I didn't run in to too many nice staff members at the old place. Everyone we encountered was extremely nice. Kudos to the Yanks for making the staff more friendly. It definitely made the visit more enjoyable.

We spent a lot of time before the game sitting in our seats. We had seats in the 2nd row of section 323. The view was awesome. The only drawback was that with people in front of me I occasionally had to invade my wife's space to see the full pitch. The seats were on the 3B side and my seat was pretty much aligned with home plate. The guy that sat in front of me had a pretty big melon and his dome blocked the grass from the mound to the batter's box. I could see the pitcher. I could see the hitter. I couldn't see the ball though, unless as I said, I leaned over on my wife. She didn't mind and it wasn't too bad. The section, much like all upper level sections, had a piece of glass at the front that acted like a mini-wall to prevent people from falling over the edge. My only beef with that was the metal "bar" that fused them all together. Would it be so much to ask to make that clear? It's not that big of a deal, but it would be nicer. Anyway, the seats were nice. Next time though I'm going for the front row.

The atmosphere at the game was awesome. The crowd was very into the game and it got loud. The weather was not bad either considering the forecast was calling for showers all night. There was a light drizzle when we first got there. It was more of a mist and wasn't too bad. It stopped before first pitch and it didn't start again until the 8th inning. So much for that forecast, eh? Stupid meteorologists. My wife would disagree but I thought even when it started raining in the 8th it wasn't that bad. They weren't really rain drops but more of a heavy mist. Not sure how it looked on TV but I didn't think it was bad at all. I did though wear a poncho. I'm so glad the weather wasn't as bad as predicted. The last thing we wanted was for the game to get delayed or postponed. Based on the forecast I thought there was no way the game was getting played. I really thought the game was going to get pushed to Monday. Thankfully, as I said, meteorologists are stupid.

Now onto the game itself. On the ride down there, I was doing my best to educate the wife on the Yankees. She's a fan, but not a die-hard. She watches most games and knows who's who, but doesn't really follow it super-closely. She asked me what to expect from A.J. Burnett. I told her he can be very dominant but he's very wild. I said he'd probably pitch 6-7 innings, would allows 3-5 hits, would walk 3-6 guys, throw a few wild pitches, hit a batter or two and would give up only 1-2 runs. I pretty much nailed it. I thought A.J. pitched pretty well. I thought for the most part he had dominant stuff. He only allowed 3 hits in his 6.1 IPs, with 2 of the hits coming in the 5th inning. From my vantage point it looked like A.J. was having trouble with Jose Molina. It was hard to tell thought what the issues were. It looked like Molina was having trouble catching the ball but I couldn't really tell without watching it on TV. We couldn't tell what was really going on up in my section. I would love to see some of the replays. There was one point where, I'm assuming, the ball bounced off Molina's glove and went right into the stands. How'd that happen? It was odd, and again, it was hard to figure out what was really happening up in my section.

What was up with the Yankees defense? Robbie Cano had a rough night. He made 2 brutal errors. Jeter also botched what looked like a routine DP. Lucky for the Yanks it didn't cost them. Jeter I'm not worried about. But Cano looked lazy on his 2 miscues. I hope he's not regressing back into a lazy fielder. I think Cano is one of the slickest fielders in the game and has a shot at winning the Gold Glove award. But he's been lazy in the past. This isn't the time to get lazy again. I'm hoping it's a one-off.

The Yankees had many opportunities to win last night. They came up empty with RISP, going 0-8. Lucky for them the Angels weren't much better at 3-15. The Yanks had chances to win the game in every inning from the 9th on. It would have made for a very tough loss.

A-Rod. 'Nuff said. I could leave it at that but why? I couldn't believe it when he went yard in the 11th. Talk about clutch. A-Rod, like I said he would, is having a monster postseason. He may have only gone 1-6 but the one hit was huge.

The bullpen was again stellar. Sure, Alfredo Aceves got knocked a little bit but on the whole, the pen was great. They did make for some tense moments though. Joba's K of Vladimir Guerrero with the bases loaded in the 7th was huge. Phil Hughes' K of Gary Matthews, Jr. with 2 on and 1 out in the 8th was big. That K got Jeter off the hook. Ace getting Torii Hunter to GIDP with 2 on in the 11th was another big spot. D-Rob got himself into and out of trouble when he whiffed Gary Matthews with 2 on and 2 out to end the 12th. Robertson came up big again in the 13th when he got Hunter and Guerrero to both ground out in the 13th. Those outs got Cano off the hook. The bullpen has to get a lot of credit for getting the big outs whenever they were needed. Job well done.

The Yankees half of the 13th inning has been replaying non-stop since the game ended last night. I can see it playing out so clearly in my head. Jerry Hariston, Jr. starts it off with a single to center. Brett Gardner lays down a successful sacrifice. The Angels intentionally walk Melky to set up the DP. Robbie Cano grounds it to 2nd, Izturis spins and throws to Aybar and the throw gets away. Here comes Hariston.....Figgins fields the comes the throw.....Jerry June beats it and slides in with the winning run and the place goes absolutely bonkers!! Cue Frank Sinatra. Awesome. Totally awesome. And then BOOM! Ladies and gents, we have pie! I was loving it. I thought for sure Burnett was going for Melky but much to my surprise he planted it right upside Jerry June's face. Hariston was definitely the deserving recipient. Can you think of a better way to end one's first trip to the new stadium then with a walkoff win and some pie? I couldn't have asked for anything better. What a way to end the day!

Last night's win was huge! The Yanks are firmly seated in the driver's seat with a 2-0 lead on the Angels. I think if they can win 1 in LA they've got it locked up. It's going to be tough for the Angels to take 3 straight from Pettitte, Sabathia and Burnett. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself but I'm liking their chances. Pettitte has been great on the road this year. He pitched a great game in the ALDS and I'm looking for him to duplicate that tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 4:13pm. I don't know about you, but I'm really excited. 4:13 can't get here soon enough.

5 down, 6 to go.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, October 16, 2009

Getting Off On The Good Foot: Yanks Win Game 1 Of ALCS 4-1

What a game! The Yanks got off on the good foot with a 4-1 win over the Angels in game 1 of the ALCS. I've got a 7 hour drive ahead of me tomorrow morning so I want to make this post as brief as possible. Thankfully, there was really only story tonight and that's the outstanding pitching by CC Sabathia. The big man continues to impress.

CC came up huge tonight. He was sharp right out of the box. The Angels didn't really stand a chance against him. 8 innings, 4 hits, 1 walk and 7 Ks. That's dominant right there. He for the most part was unhittable. In his final 4 innings he allowed 1 walk. 1 walk. That's it. He had great control too. 76 of his 113 pitches were strikes (67%) and he threw 1st pitch strikes to 17 of the 29 hitters he faced. CC has been awesome for some time now. Counting his 2 postseason starts, CC is 11-1 in his last 14 starts. He's lost once since July 28th. Wow. He's been nothing short of dominant in those starts. 96.2 IP, 76 hits, 25 walks, 25 ER, 103 K. A 2.33 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Like I said, dominant. He's having a heck of an October too. 2-0, 14 .2 IP, 12 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned, 1 walk, 15 K, 1.23 ERA, 0.89 WHIP. Awesome. Totally awesome. The best thing about tonight is that the game didn't get rained out. That pretty much means CC is in line to pitch game 4 on 3 days rest. A rainout today would have killed that. Barring any other rainouts, the Yankees can probably get through 7 games of the ALCS with 3 SPs, with only CC pitching on short rest and it should only happen once. Sign me up.

The minor story tonight was the Angels' defense, or should I say, lack thereof. The Halos committed 3 errors which accounted for 2 unearned runs. The infield popup that fell between Aybar and Figgins in the 1st was horrible. It could have been a whole different game had that ball not hit the ground. Oh well. Sucks to be you.

I'm headed to the Bronx tomorrow for game 2. It's about a 7 hour drive and we're leaving around 8:30am. The weather report for tomorrow is not favorable. The forecast is calling for a 90% chance of rain with accumulation of up to an inch. I have the feeling that they won't be playing tomorrow. I'm really excited and looking forward to it but at the same time, I'm not. I'm really looking forward to seeing Yankee Stadium for the first time. I'm not looking forward to watching it in freezing temperatures with constant rain. I'm planning on wearing a lot of layers (all Yankees gear of course). I can deal with the cold. It's the rain I'm not a fan of. With any luck, Mother Nature will cooperate and the rain will hold off or at least be light. Doubtful, but one can dream.

4 down, 7 to go.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Rain Rain Go Away

It looks like it's going to be raining in the Bronx all weekend. As a ticket holder for Saturday's game, this does not make me a happy camper.

The last thing I want to happen is to have the game pushed back to Sunday or even Monday. That wouldn't work well for me. If I only had to travel an hour that would be one thing, but we're talking a 6-7 hour 1-way drive. I'd definitely have to stay in the area which means more money out of my pocket. Then there's work. If the game gets pushed back to Sunday, I'd have to take Monday off. God forbid it gets pushed back to Monday. I'm definitely going to the game come hell or high water. With all the rain in the forecast, it could be the high water I have to deal with.

Secondly, watching baseball in chilly temperatures is one thing. Chill temperatures and freezing rain for 2.5+ hours? Not ideal.

Rain rain go away. Come again another day.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mariano Rivera Is The Delivery Man Of The Year

Just got a text alert that the GOAT, Mariano Rivera, was named the 2009 MLB Delivery Man of the Year. This shouldn't really come as a shock to anyone. Mo had a downright awesome year. His final regular season pitching line: 66 games, 66.1 IP, 48 hits, 14 runs, 13 earned, 7 HR, 12 BB, and 72 K. He was 3-3 with 44 saves in 46 opportunities. His ERA was 1.76. His WHIP was 0.90 and opponents only hit .197 off of Mo. Not too shabby.

Mo, like a fine wine, is getting better with age. His 1.76 ERA was 0.49 lower than his career ERA of 2.25. His 0.90 WHIP was .11 lower than his career WHIP of 1.01. His .197 opponents' batting average against was .014 lower that his career OBA of .211. His 9.77 K/9 was above his career K/9 of 8.31. It's really hard to believe that at the age of 39, Mo is getting better. His last 2 seasons are arguably two of his best. They're definitely up there. He's the GOAT. There's nothing more to say but congrats to Mo on another stellar year and for winning another well-deserved award.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Yankee Stadium Here I Come

Got tickets for game 2 on Saturday! It'll be my first trip to the new ballpark so needless to say I am super psyched! My wonderful wife originally got me a ticket for game 5 of the ALDS for my birthday. That game was cancelled due to the Yankees sweep so I got to roll it into a ticket for the ALCS. Since the game is on a Saturday it meant the wife could come also. She's a big Yankees fan too!

I got the the tickets off StubHub so they cost me a pretty penny. The wife doesn't like to sit far away so that pretty much ruled out sitting in half the stadium. The seats are in section 323 which is part of the Jim Beam suite, whatever that is. The view looked pretty sweet when I checked it out on the 3-D seat viewer on

So anybody got any tips for me? Anything that's a must see? We'll be there plenty early so there will be time to check stuff out. Anybody know what the parking situation is like? Whenever I've gone before I would park in the garage that was pretty much a stones throw from the stadium. It was the garage right near "the Bat." I thought it was extremely convenient. That still there/open?

Is it Saturday yet?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yankees/Twins ALDS Recap/Breakdown

This post is about a day and a half overdue. I meant to write this around lunchtime Monday, but one thing lead to another and here we are. Since we're now 2 days removed from sweeping the Twins, I won't go into as much analysis as I originally planned. I'll hit up a few bullet points and then call it a night. Let's dive in, shall we?

The Yankees starting pitching in the ALDS was nothing short of awesome. CC, A.J., and Andy combined for 19 innings, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 14 hits and 6 walks, while striking out 21. That's an ERA of 1.42 and for you WHIP fans out there that works out to a WHIP of 1.05. Pretty impressive, wouldn't you say? The only negative I saw from those 3 was A.J.'s lack of control. A.J. walked 5 and hit 2. Lucky for him (and us) he has shutdown type stuff so the walks didn't hurt him as much as they could have. As long as the runs don't score we're good.

The Yankee bullpen as a whole was very impressive, with the exceptions of Damaso Marte and Phil Hughes. Let's face it, nobody cares about Marte. Hughes on the other hand, didn't look too sharp. Phil appeared in all 3 games, pitching 2 innings and allowing 2 runs, both earned, on 5 hits and a walk. It could have been worse if not for Nick Punto's baserunning blunder in game 3, but more on that later. The hero of the bullpen was probably David Robertson. D-Rob entered the game in a pretty tough spot (2 on w/no out), made it a little tougher for himself (bases loaded w/no outs) and got the team out of it unscathed. That was big right there. But as I said, the pen as a whole, wasn't too shabby. In 3 games, they combined for 10 innings, allowing 2 runs (both earned) on 15 hits and 3 walks, while whiffing 13. The WHIP and ERA came in at the same total, 1.80. That's great for an ERA but lousy for a WHIP. As long as the runs don't score, we're good.

The defense played error-free baseball for the 3 games and as I illustrated in the 2 paragraphs above, the pitching was very solid. The Yankees collective pitching line was 29 IP, 29 hits, 6 runs, 5 earned runs, 9 walks, and 34 Ks. That's an ERA of 1.55 and a WHIP of 1.31. Perhaps the best stat is that the Yankees didn't allow a single HR in the 3 games. As I said, impressive. As the saying goes, pitching and defense wins championships.

The offensive heroes were without a doubt Derek Jeter and A-Rod. Alex had a monster ALDS. I asked my magic 8-ball if A-Rod's October woes were behind him and it said all signs point to yes. For the series, A-Rod hit .455 (5-11) with 2 HR and 6 RBI. Alex went a combined 0-6 in his first 2 ABs of each game. If you do the math, that means he went 5-5 in his final ABs. That's clutch right there. I said it after each game. I'll say it again. Alex is going to have a monster postseason. I think his head is finally in the right place and I don't think he feels much pressure. His October will be huge. Jeter's hot-hitting spilled right over from the regular season. Jeter went 4-10 with 2 walks and 3 extra-base hits. The Captain is always on base, which is exactly what you want from your leadoff hitter.

The rest of the offense with the exception of Jorge Posada, who hit .364 and had the big HR off Pavano, and to a lesser degree, Mark Teixeira, because he had the 2 clutch hits in game 2, was rather unimpressive. Outside of Jeter, Posada, and A-Rod, the only hitter who topped .200 was Hideki Matsui, who hit .222. Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher were absolutely awful. Both hit .083 for the series and both struck out 4 times. The bats need to wake up.

The Yankees also got a little help. The Twins are supposed to be a very sound baseball team. They committed 2 huge baserunning blunders that very well could have changed things. Nick Swisher made a heads up play to nail Carlos Gomez when he slipped rounding 2nd. That blunder cost the Twins a run as Delmon Young was about to score. And as I mentioned above, Nick Punto made a critical mistake in game 3 when he rounded 3rd to far and couldn't get back to the bag in time. Jeter made a nice play right there to read the situation and get the ball to 3rd before Punto got back. Both of those plays could have changed the course of the series. As could have umpire Phil Cuzzi's horrible call in game 2. Cuzzi called a Joe Mauer fly ball foul when it was clearly fair. Mauer would have been on 2nd with no outs. Instead he ended up with a single and he didn't score, thanks to David Robertson. One can't assume though that if the correct call was made that the outcome would have been different. There's no way of knowing and it's pointless to even discuss.

Add all that up my friends and you've got a 3 game sweep and the Yankees are off to the ALCS for the first time since 2004. It should be a very good series. The Angels have always been a thorn in the Yankees' side but I think the tide is turning. The teams split the season series with the Yankees winning 3 of the last 4, including 2 of 3 in Anaheim. The Yanks also won 3 of 4 against the Angels at home. The Yankees have the best home record in all of MLB. The Angels have the best road record in MLB with the Yankees only 2 games worse. It should be fun. I hope to write a little preview of it on Thursday sometime, assuming my schedule allows. So check back for that.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,